How to Tame a Ball Python: 6 Steps and 5 TIPS

Taming and handling a ball python is one of the most important things that every owner must be knowledgeable about and practiced enough when purchasing a pet.

If you have recently obtained a ball python or if you noticed that your ball python is aggressive, you may need advice on how to tame a ball python. 

Read this article to know the necessary and basic information on taming ball pythons, as well as learn bonus tips on dealing with aggressive ones. 

Cute Reptiles as Pets x
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Are Ball Pythons Easy to Tame?

Are Ball Pythons Easy to Tame?

While ball pythons are not known for being emotional or cuddly reptiles, or animals even, they do deal with taming and handling pretty well.

Yes, taming ball pythons could be as easy as taking care of them.

This is the one thing you must remember when bringing your pet python home for the first time. For the first two weeks, your new pet snake may be feeling uneasy and unfamiliar with its new environment.

Be patient and give it time and space to allow it to get used to everything and eat adequately. 

They require a period of adjustment to become accustomed to their new environment. The amount of time necessary varies, but most snake handlers believe that it takes five to seven days on average.

You should avoid disturbing or otherwise stressing the snake during the acclimation period.

Factors Affecting The Domestication Of Ball Python

Because ball pythons thrive on familiarity, they will not attack individuals that they know such as their longtime owners. They also work in part through rewards such as food, shelter, and water

If you scratch the back of your snake, it will scratch yours. It will not attack you if you reach into its tank, at the very least.

The main factors of ball python domestication are safe and ideal habitats, age, temperament, and trust between the pet and the owner.

Taming A Baby Ball Python Vs An Adult Ball Python

Taming A Baby Ball Python Vs An Adult Ball Python

Baby or young ball pythons can even grow tamed, allowing you to regularly hold them. Not all snakes, though, are gentle at first.

Some snakes have learned to be aggressive as a result of poor treatment or living in the wild, while others are born with a more violent nature.

Adult ball pythons are strong creatures that can go for long periods without eating. Get it set up in a secure enclosure with some dark, tight-fitting hides and let him alone for a week or two, as others have suggested.

Once a week, feed him and then begin short handling sessions. It will eventually come to trust you again.

How To Tame A Ball Python

How To Tame A Ball Python

In taming a ball python, you must be able to provide a suitable environment and enclosure, avoid stressors, and handle it regularly and gently.

The majority of ball pythons possess calm dispositions that require little effort from their owners when it comes to taming. 

Nonetheless, they, like all snakes, have distinct personalities. Luckily enough, only a few ball pythons are irritable and defensive. Here are six notable steps to begin with the taming of your ball python.

This article is a guide on ball pythons in the wild and their natural habitat.

Alone Time: To Ball Python Acclimatization

Allowing your ball python to adjust to its new environment and get comfortable is the first step in building trust. During this time, you must not handle your python.

Allow your ball python to eat two to four times in a row over two or four weeks before beginning any handling sessions. This can help prevent your ball python from feeling stressed.

Before you bring your ball python home, you must ensure that everything you need in caring for and maintaining your pet is ready and available.

Check the temperature, humidity, clutter, and conceals, among other things. 

Ensure that you have at least two sufficient hides for your ball python to explore. If the cage is made of glass, the sides should be covered to keep it from being overly exposed and reflective.

Keep an eye on your ball python over the first several weeks to learn more about its habits. Because ball pythons are nocturnal, they will hide and relax during the day and emerge at night.

When it’s hungry, it will be especially active, following your every move and roaming the cage.

Also read: Why Is My Ball Python So Active?

Try To Build Trust With Them

You can begin engaging with your snake after a week. If your snake is still acting hostile after a week, wait 3-4 more days before trying again.

You may move the water dish, decorations in the enclosure such as plants or branches, or anything that is found inside the enclosure around.

Doing so allows your pet to get used to you and the new environment. 

When you are rearranging things in the enclosure, be careful not to suddenly touch your snake.

To avoid scaring your snake, use calm, deliberate motions. This will assist in understanding that you are not going to hurt it. 

If you notice that your snake is shaped like an S around the neck while it gazes on you, be warned that it could strike at any moment.

To refrain from any biting incident, only make slow movements and pull your hand away from your pet. Let them know that you are not there to threaten or harm but to care for them.

Allow Your Ball Python To Get Used To Your Scent

Allow Your Ball Python To Get Used To Your Scent

Ball pythons recognize odors rather than appearances. They can smell when something is familiar to them, but they also have a keen sense of hearing, so they might be able to pick up on the sound of your voice.

Because ball pythons identify things based on the scent, your ball python will be familiar with yours when you appropriately hold your hand in front of it.

To allow your snake to smell you, keep your hand approximately 3–4 in (7.6–10.2 cm) away from its head. Slowly shift your hand out of the path if it gets into striking position. 

If your snake does not respond, try bringing your hand closer to it. If you are worried about being bitten, you can wear thick gloves to take extra precautions and protection. 

Also read: Do Ball Pythons Like to be Held?

Begin Handling Your Snake With Gentle Touches 

You must be able to show your pet that you are not a threat but a friend.

Make sure your ball python can see you when you enter the room where the enclosure is situated to avoid feeling startled and threatened. 

Approach gently during the first few days, changing the water and generally putting your hand inside.

If you sense more comfortability from your pet, you can pick it up at mid-body and take it out of its enclosure. Make sure to hold it with both hands to support its body. 

But, if it tries to strike you, quickly cover its entire body, including the head. It will realize that defensive behavior is ineffective and will attempt to coil up instead. Subsequently, you can handle it easily.

Continue to work with your ball python until it relaxes. Begin with 5-10 minutes and work your way up to 15-20 minutes. With time, most ball pythons grow tame and gentle, but not all. 

Younger ball pythons are more defensive, but they normally calm down as they get older (year and over). This problem is frequently solved by handling it over time.

Only pick up your ball python in the center of its body. With both hands, hold it under the head and mid-body.

Do not touch your ball python’s head because it may bring about anxiety and aggression. Allow your ball python to freely move around.

Remember to wash your hand to remove any scent that could trigger your snake to attack or be aggressive. They may bite you if they sensed the smell of rodents or food on your hands. 

You may also observe the body language of your pet so you would know the areas where it is sensitive. This article discusses the meaning behind bodily movements in ball pythons. 

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Pick Him Up Quickly, Confidently, and Gently

When possible, only handle your snake during the day. This is the time when it is less likely to be active which helps in keeping it calm.

Before lifting your pet, wash your hands to remove any odors that it might mistake for predators or prey. 

When picking it up, keep your hands relaxed and support its complete bodyweight so it will not be afraid of falling. Allow it to crawl between your hands and use its forked tongue to examine the area.

Avoid hovering over your snake while attempting to summon the courage to pick it up, as this may make it feel uneasy.

Instead, immediately, confidently, and gently lift him to put him at ease. Keep in mind that no strain on the body keeps it at ease.

Put Your Snake Back Using a Hook

Increase your proximity to its tank and place your hand inside the cage, once it has eaten a few times and digested its meal for three days.

Your ball python may get cage aggressive, raising its body and maybe striking. If that’s the case, you can safeguard your hands by wearing welding gloves or using a snake hook.

A hook will allow you to manage your ball python’s movements and handle it from a distance, giving you peace of mind.

Even if a ball python latches on to you (which it will only do if it is extremely anxious or confused with food), the bite will be quite superficial.

Do not hit your ball python from your hand if it bites you to avoid teeth and gums injuries and infections.

Check out: Are Ball Pythons Dangerous? How Hurt Their Bite Is?

Maintain Short Handle Sessions and Regularly

While getting to know your pet ball python, you must limit the duration of handling sessions to 15 minutes per day.

After getting more familiar and introduced, you may adjust the period to 30 minutes. 

Keep in mind that lengthy handling sessions can make your pet feel stressed.

Moreover, if you do not maintain and repeat the sessions regularly, you will not be able to effectively tame your pet and end up with undesirable results.

Part of this is because your pet will not get used to your smell.

Bonus: 5 Tips To Tame An Ball Python

When a ball python becomes anxious or scared, it is difficult to quiet it down, and it is usually immediately returned to its enclosure.

To keep ball pythons peaceful during handling sessions, make sure they are not stressed when in their cages. 

This will help them stay calm when interacting with their keepers. When handling them, make sure you do so in a quiet room away from other pets and humans, and don’t restrain them too much.

If you want to read more about this topic, this article discusses four tips in taming ball pythons.

Try To Handle Your Snake During The Day

If possible, remember to handle your snake during the day to keep it from feeling uneasy. This is attributable to their relative inactivity at this time.

Place your hand inside the snake’s tank so it can get used to your scent and will not associate you with something to eat.

Even two or three minutes twice a day of this will help. Because ball pythons are nocturnal, handling them during the day may be the best option.

Wash Hands Before Handling

After touching your snake, wash your hands. Always practice washing your hands with soap and warm water after each handling session to lessen the likeliness of contracting bacteria and avoid biting.

They might mistake the smell of food from your hands if you forget this tip.

After handling any material in the enclosure, such as husbandry tools, wash your hands.

Anything that comes into contact with your pet or the enclosure, may become contaminated with bacteria. It’s also a good idea to clean your husbandry tools after each use.

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Handle Correctly To Avoid Causing Stress

Support the body of your pet and do not restrain its head when handling by pointing its head away from you.

To avoid stress, do not handle your python within 24-28 hours of a meal. Also, do not handle your pet if the python’s eyes have turned blue and opaque ball python curls into a ball during handling.

Wear Gloves/Use A Hook Instead Of Handle Directly

Snake hooks and gloves are used to keep a snake at a safe distance from the handler while handling, capturing, and transporting it.

These are particularly effective for dealing with ball pythons that pose a threat to the handler.

Don’t Be Scared

Confidence is the key to taming effectively. Because ball pythons have such a keen sense of smell, they may be able to distinguish between a relaxed and a terrified human.

They do not react to human fear unless they are frightened by unpredictably moving humans.

Incorrect Handling To Avoid

Keep in mind that ball pythons are easily stressed. Your new pet snake, who has recently arrived at your home, needs rest and not to be handled.

You can begin handling your snake once it has adjusted to its new surroundings and begun accepting food.

However, if you try to manage your newly acquired snake too soon, your snake is likely to bite you. Other handling tips to keep in mind are below.

  • Keep your hands away from the head of your ball python because otherwise, it can easily become upset.
  • Allow your ball python to move around freely instead of restricting it.
  • Its body must be appropriately supported; else, it will become stressed.
  • Pulling your ball python out of its hide or forcing handling is not a good idea.
  • When you approach your ball python, make sure it sees you; otherwise, you may scare it and it may become more aggressive.
  • After you’ve fed your ball python, don’t handle it for three days (stress, regurgitation).
  • During shedding, keep your ball python as far away from you as possible to avoid feeling stress and vulnerability.
  • Refrain from using your hands excessively when touching your pet.
  • Never grab the tail of your ball python (can cause spinal injuries).

FAQs

How do you get your ball python to trust you?

Allowing your ball python to acclimate to its new surroundings and get at ease is the first step toward developing trust.

You must also handle your pet gently and give it space when necessary to allow it to build trust with you.

How do you get a ball python used to being handled?

You can arrange handling sessions at least once a week but do not exceed more than one per day.

Ball pythons do not require a social connection for their mental health, although regular handling can assist the snake to stay tame and provide exercise.

The young ball pythons may require more patience from you because they still tend to be more defensive as compared to older ones.

The likeliness of them striking is big at this age. This can be daunting, but don’t give up; with patience and care, they will come to regard you as a friend.

Also read: Definitive Guide on How to Care For Ball Pythons (Python Regius)

How do you bond with your ball python?

Ball pythons can recognize and distinguish between humans, and with time, they may come to recognize their owner’s fragrance as familiar or good.

Final Sentences

Hope this article has helped discuss everything you need to know about taming ball pythons!

This article will tell you 12 good reasons why ball pythons would make such good pets.